“You had better go in,” he said. “We ought to intervene. If you don’t, I will. Listen....”
It was a strange sound to hear in this heart of civilization. It belonged to the barbaric places of the earth, where there was no law, where every pioneer was his own cadi.
With set face Barry Whalen entered the room. Byng paused for an instant and looked at him with burning, glazed eyes that scarcely realized him.
“Open that door,” he said, presently, and Barry Whalen opened the door which led into the big hall.
“Open all down to the street,” Byng said, and Barry Whalen went forward quickly.
Like some wild beast Krool crouched and stumbled and moaned as he ran down the staircase, through the outer hall, while a servant with scared face saw Byng rain savage blows upon the hated figure.
On the pavement outside the house, Krool staggered, stumbled, and fell down; but he slowly gathered himself up, and turned to the doorway, where Byng stood panting with the sjambok in his hand.
“Baas!—Baas!” Krool said with livid face, and then he crept painfully away along the street wall.
A policeman crossed the road with a questioning frown and the apparent purpose of causing trouble, but Barry Whalen whispered in his ear, and told him to call that evening and he would hear all about it. Meanwhile a five-pound note in a quick palm was a guarantee of good faith.
Presently a half-dozen people began to gather near the door, but the benevolent policeman moved them on.
At the top of the staircase Jasmine met her husband. She shivered as he came up towards her.
“Will you come to me when you have finished your business?” she said, and she took the sjambok gently from his hand.
He scarcely realized her. He was in a dream; but he smiled at her, and nodded, and passed on to where the others awaited him.
“The battle cry of freedom”
Slowly Jasmine returned to her boudoir. Laying the sjambok on the table among the books in delicate bindings and the bowls of flowers, she stood and looked at it with confused senses for a long time. At last a wan smile stole to her lips, but it did not reach her eyes. They remained absorbed and searching, and were made painfully sad by the wide, dark lines under them. Her fair skin was fairer than ever, but it was delicately faded, giving her a look of pensiveness, while yet there was that in her carriage and at her mouth which suggested strength and will and new forces at work in her. She carried her head, weighted by its splendour of golden hair, as an Eastern woman carries a goulah of water. There was something pathetic yet self-reliant in the whole figure. The passion slumbering in the eyes, however, might at any moment burst forth in some wild relinquishment of control and self-restraint.